South Asia

Sri Lanka parties petition Supreme Court against parliament dissolution

Sri Lanka’s main parties in the countries Supreme Court on Monday petitioned against the country’s President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament and call for a snap election in January of next year, AFP reported.

Overthrown Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leftist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, were among 10 groups that filed the action, officials said, as per the report.

They asked the court to declare the President’s actions as illegal.

“The petitions were accepted this morning and it is up to the Chief Justice to decide when it will be taken up for hearing,” a court official said, the report stated.

He said several civil society groups and individuals had also submitted separate petitions, all seeking a declaration against the presidential action against the legislature.

On Sunday, the speaker of parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, called on civil servants to defy Sirisena’s “illegal orders”.

“I have watched over the last two weeks as the executive branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of members of parliament who were elected to represent the people,” he said. “We must all act with patriotism and independence to safeguard the future of democracy in our country.”

Sirisena, in response, defended his decision and said he acted to ‘prevent civil unrest’.

“Had I allowed the parliament to meet on November 14, there would have been violence in the House and it could have spread to our villages and towns,” Sirisena said in his first address to the nation since the protracted political crisis that gripped the South Asian nation.

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections said it had already asked the independent Elections Commission to seek an opinion from the attorney general and an order from the Supreme Court, the AFP report stated.


Note: The headline earlier wrongly said Supreme Court ‘of India’. 

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